Monday 30 May 2011

Bling for dogs

Border Terrier Smike's owner can't be strapped for cash - she bought him a dog collar with a built in £2,500 Rolex watch as a birthday gift.
Designer Alison Jones, 27, said: "It's the ultimate accessory."

Message to Smike's owner from Merseyside: "Don't leave Smike unattended outside the supermarket."

Monday 23 May 2011

Dog versus human

Here are some interesting facts:

1. Body Temperature

Canine normal body temperature is between 38° to 39.2° Celsius.  The commonly accepted average body temperature in humans is 36.8° Celsius.
2. Respiratory Rate

Dogs: 10-34 breaths per minute, unless panting.  In human adults over 18:  12-20 breaths per minute.
Normal respiratory rates are assessed when the dog/person is at rest. Pain, heart or respiratory problems, heatstroke will usually increase respiratory rates.
3. Heart Rate

Dogs: beats per minute: 60 – 100 for large breeds, 100 – 140 for small breeds.  In human adults 60-80 bpm.
Larger dogs have slower rates than small dogs, and dogs that are in good physical shape will have lower heart rates than dogs of similar age and size who are not physically fit. Puppies typically have higher heart rates, up to 180 bpm; this is normal up to one year of age.  Normal heart rate in children is variable and depends on the child’s age.
4. Duration of Pregnancy

On average, canine pregnancy lasts 63 days.  In humans: 9 months say 274 days.  Elephants: 624 days.   The larger the animal, the longer the gestation period.   
5. Number of Teeth

Puppies have 28 teeth; adult dogs have 42 teeth.  The loss of baby teeth usually starts at about 3 months and ends by 6 to 9 months.
A child has 20 baby teeth and they start falling out at about age 6.  An adult has 32 teeth including wisdom teeth.
Silly question: do dogs have wisdom teeth?  I must ask our vet.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Shock collars - The Shoking Truth


shock collar e-collarThere are now a number of ‘quick fix’ products available to dog owners who wish to modify the behaviour of their pet. One such device is the electric collar. The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors feels that the use of devices that rely on pain or discomfort to modify behaviour are inappropriate as they have the potential to seriously compromise the welfare of dogs, and ruin the relationship with their owners.

Shock Collar Risks

Despite advances in our understanding of dog behaviour and training, and the general move towards reward-based training techniques, some people still continue to recommend the use of punishment as the best method of training or dealing with behaviour problems. While shock collars can work to suppress behaviour, their use comes with unacceptable risks, and inevitably the underlying reasons for the problem behaviour are not dealt with. Even in experienced hands, it can be difficult to deliver shocks at the right moment and to predict the level of discomfort or pain experienced by a dog; in inexperienced hands the use of shock collars can often result in poorly timed intense electric shocks that induce fear and ongoing anxiety in the dog. Owners are often unaware of the high levels of pain that they may be causing their dog.

Aggression and Shock Collars

One of the most common behaviour problems encountered with dogs is that of aggression. In many cases, aggression is motivated by fear. When a dog is nervous or frightened, a natural behavioural strategy is to use aggression to get rid of the “threat”. Placing a shock collar on such a dog to stop it being aggressive can result in the dog becoming even more fearful of the situation, which can make the aggression more likely in the future. The use of a shock collar to try and stop aggressive behaviour can also suppress the warning signs displayed by a dog before it is aggressive, which can make the behaviour of the dog less predictable and more dangerous.

Barking and Shock Collars

The risks of using an electric shock to modify behaviour extend to the treatment of other behaviour problems in dogs such as barking. Dogs learn by association - when using a shock collar there is always a risk that the dog may associate the shock with something other than the behaviour that people are trying to stop. For instance, if a shock is administered for barking, there is a danger that the dog might associate a nearby child with the pain of the shock, rather than its own barking. This could lead to the dog developing distrust or even fear of children. Another significant risk with the use of shock collars is that rather than linking the shock to the wrong thing, a dog may not be able to link the shock to anything at all! This often results in the dog becoming totally confused, anxious and stressed as it repeatedly suffers the pain of the electric shock for no apparent reason.

The APBC feels that behaviour problems can be best addressed through behaviour modification programmes based on an understanding of the motivation for each dog’s behaviour, and the use of humane, reward-based training methods.


Saturday 14 May 2011

Electric shock

Today when I took Ozzy out for a walk in a wooded park, we came across a Malinois. He was off the lead and went for Ozzy. He tackled Ozzy into a submissive position and started biting him in the neck whilst growling furiously. Quite impressive. I remain calm in situations like these and walk on and call Ozzy to me. This usually diffuses the confrontation. Not this time. I managed to call Ozzy to me without showing any distress but by asserting control. The owner started sreaming at his dog and said "you'll get it in the neck, mate". This is exactly what happened. The poor dog was wearing an electric shock collar and his owner was so angry, he pushed the button for such a long time the dog started shaking and frothing at the mouth. This was obviously not enough for him. He took the lead and started beating his dog with the end with the buckle. The dog whelped. By this time Ozzy and I were at a safe distance. Luckily Ozzy is very sweet natured and trusts me so he was not affected by the scene. I did not think it was wise to make a comment to the man but I was upset for the poor dog and very angry with his owner. Poor Malinois, obviously in the wrong hands.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

The Belgian connection

A dog with titanium teeth had accompanied the US military team that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. According to the Sun, at least one of the special breed of Belgian shepherds called "Malinois" backed the Navy Seals mission that killed Osama. Highly placed military sources said a dog joined the 79-strong elite team "choppered" into Abbottabad, ten days before the raid. Its surgically enhanced teeth are strong enough to pierce a bullet-proof vest, the paper said. It has emerged that dogs equipped with infrared night-sight cameras and armoured vests have been used in the past by the top-secret unit. The animals have even been provided with special gas masks earlier to ward off chemical attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan

Monday 2 May 2011

Another playmate

Ozzy playing with Joyce, a 10 month flatcoated retriever.  Proof again that Ozzy is not a dominant dog.
( Click on pictures to enlarge )